This is the first entry of my blog, and I am going to use it to talk a little bit about the site, my novella, and what the plans are.
1. The Website:
I’m sitting in my little apartment, cramped and cold, listening to Wilco‘s “One Sunday Morning” and drinking some Basil Hayden’s bourbon straight. The music sounds really good on my speakers, really warm and melancholy, and I’m playing it from vinyl so I’m all hipstering out. The bourbon is here to help put my thoughts into focus and cut the cream from a tenacious caffeine buzz, and it delivers. I’ve been involved in web development for about ten years or so, though I wouldn’t consider myself very good at it. Adequate. “Sometimes it Happens” has come on, and Jeff Tweedy sounds a bit like John Lennon. This is nice. Websites should be nice and unobtrusive. They should be easy to navigate and minimal in confusing extras. Just because there is space to do almost anything, doesn’t mean we should get lost in that space.
So for now, there are just three real sections of this site: a) my “bio”, which is minimal in description (I’ll probably write about why, and also why I am going by J.A. Bender, instead of my full name some other time), b) Information about my writing (including ordering info). Since I only have one thing I’m offering at the moment, this page is small, short, and simple. Eventually, it will grow into a section, and c) this blog.The blog is potentially gonna be a beast if I can keep it going. These things can be pretty cathartic, so I might keep it going even if I am the only one reading it.
One of the great things about the internet is it allows people to interact with each other. Yes, this is my site, my writing, my opinions—but it is also a wonderful place for you to let me know what you think, for you to share your writing, opinions, and whatnot. Just keep it civil (I know, this is a hard thing to ask of the Internet).
2. The Novella
I’ve been writing stories since I was at least seven years old. The first story I wrote was about a tree being chopped down in a forest. I don’t know if it survives. I hope it does. The novella is not about a tree being chopped down in the forest. It is about an artist and a girl on an island and there is magic and a doppleganger. I started the story either in 2008 when I first moved to Washington, DC, and was my attempt at writing a modern fairytale. I had been reading a lot of Gabriel García Márquez‘s short fiction (i.e. La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndira y de su abuela desalmada), and had experimented in magical realism with a short story (a birthday present I wrote for a friend), but the novella wasn’t intended to be straight-up magical realism, but leaning on the style.
I have been afraid of dopplegangers since 2003, when while living in upstate New York, I was haunted by one. Everywhere I go, they seem to exist. They are here in DC, though I have been lucky enough not to meet one yet. I only know they exist because people tell me about them, and I have decided to believe these people. There was no reason why they’d have lied to me, especially since the stories they tell me are a bit embarrassing (they thought the doppleganger was me, and had conversations with it, to the doppleganger’s confusion). It is also easier to believe they are dopplegangers than just people who look like me. I like believing that I am unique, and that includes appearance. But this is a lie.
The novella is about a number of different things. It is about art. It is about dreams. It is about mortality. It is about failure. It is about youth. It is about the things that there are no words for. I hope you read it.
I am now listening to Getz/Gilberto. The record is wonderfully scratchy. It is aural Basil Hayden’s bourbon.
3. The Future
I have several stories in the works. I imagine most writers always have something. I’m going to use the blog to let my readers know what’s coming up, and maybe I’ll even share some excerpts from things if I want some feedback. There is a possible follow-up story to The Shadows At Their Feet, which focuses on Adeline. This would most likely be a novel, not a novella. But I don’t know. Sometimes I believe that there is such thing as a Muse, though it is something that is some fully conscious and independent thing within us that likes to grab the strings or whisper ideas into my dreams.
As to the site, I hope it grows. I’ll put up a links section soon. I also hope to add blog posts at least three times a week. Long or short. Maybe just a link sometimes. Maybe a ramble. And I’ll be doing more on twitter, I guess. We’ll see.